Calvary’s History

Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Harrisville, PA. came into existence in 1966 as a result of the joining together of the New Hope O.P.C. of Branchton and Faith O.P.C. of Harrisville.  These two congregations had been one pastoral charge for many years in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. They were organized as particular churches of our denomination under the leadership of the Rev. Robert L. Atwell in the first year of the denomination’s existence, and continued to share pastors until their union.

In 1966, under the leadership of the Rev. George Morton, the two congregations united and chose the name “Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church”.     On May 1, 1966 ground was broken for a new building to serve the needs of the congregation. New Hope O.P. Church and Faith O.P. Church held joint services beginning in January 1966 in Faith Church building.  (New Hope congregation actually met with Faith Church the last Sunday in December as their fuel oil had been stolen.)  The two congregations officially united February 14, 1966. Harrisville had 99 adults and 56 covenant children. New Hope had 43 adults  and 21 covenant children. Total 142 adults and 77 covenant children or a grand total of 219 persons.   Mrs. Kathleen Speer donated land for the building. The new building, larger, more attractive, with better facilities and located on the main road through Harrisville, has helped our witness in the area. The groundbreaking service for Calvary Church building was held May 1, 1966. Rev. George Morton (pastor), Elton Brown (President of the board of Trustees), O.D. Allison, J.E.Atwell, John Speer, William Speer, and 70 people were in attendance. The Hearing for the Charter application was July 28, 1966 before Judge Clyde S. Shumaker. The dedication service for the new Calvary Church building was held March 12, 1967 at 2:30 P.M. Rev. George Morton’s sermon was “If a Man Love Me”. A week of evening services followed.

In May of 1971 a group of parents and interested people formed a Christian School Association.     In autumn of 1971 the Christian Public School of Western Pennsylvania began operation with 10 students in grades l through 3.    The first term the school met in Grove City and the next two terms at Nashua Church.    During these years parents from Calvary Church were active in support of the school and children from Calvary Church were students.   The school met in Calvary Church since the 1974-75 term, while another school, Jubilee Christian School, continued to meet at Nashua Church. Grades had been added until the school had kindergarten through grade 8.  The first 8th grade class to graduate was in 1978.  Early in 1977 an addition to the church building was completed to house the school. This addtion to the building has been of great benefit to both the school and the congragation.    In 1992, the school was dissolved.

One of the strengths of Calvary Church is that is situated in an where the population is not nearly so transient as in most cities. Many of the charter members stayed there until their death. There are grandchildren great-grandchildren of original members active in Calvary Church.  The influence of Calvary Church reaches beyond our immediate area. One young man born in the church became an O.P.C. Pastor.  Others who joined us in their youth have gone on to become pastors in other Reformed Churches. There are also ruling elders and deacons in the O.P.C. and other Reformed Churches who have been and some continue to be members of Calvary Church. As we look back on the history of Calvary Church it is with gratitude for faithful pastors, for each member God has called to our fellowship, and for His good hand upon us each step of the way.     As we look to the future, it is with confidence that He will build His church, even through our feeble efforts.

Deacon History

Frank F. Karnes                  0000 to 0000
William K. Speer               1972 – 1986
Robert E. Barnes              1972 to 1980
William Cypher                  1972 to 1980
John E. Bennett, Sr.          1976 to Present
Lawernce E. Houston      1972 to 2005
Ronald Coulter                 1972 to 1996
Dennis Ritenour               1980 to 1992
Dennis F. Blom,               1976 to Present
Richard Lane                    1991 to 1997
Lawernce A. Houston   1991 to 2006
John E. Bennett Jr.          1991 to 2011
James W. Bennett           2011 to Present
Douglas Greenway         2011 to Present
Keith Rex                          2011 to Present
Keith J. Vinca                    2011 to Present

Elder History

J. W. Gilmore                      1936 – 1951
William E. McBride            1936 – 1952
W. T. Benedict                    1936 – 1941
James B. Speer                  1936 – 1949
Simion D. Morrison            1936 – 1950
A. W. Brandon                     1936 – 1962
John H. Craig                      1936 – 1971
Arthur A. Armour                1938 – 1989
James E. Atwell                  1943 – 1966
Charles. A. Walter              1951 – 1970
William. H. Kiester             1953 – 2009
William K. Speer                1953 – 1965
Clifford H. Rea                   1970 – 1973
Donald E. McCall              1965 – 1998
David   Bovard*                  1966 – 1975
Joseph Hockenberry*        1966 – 1969
Ray   Ritenour*                   1966 – 1971
Dr. Thomas F. Armour       1972 – Present
James E. Karns                  1975 – Present
Robert E. Barnes               1980 – 2003
Jack A. Covert                    1972 – 1991
Charles  E.  Fry, Jr.            1980 – 1988 and 2007 – Present
James D. Bailey                  1981 – Present
William S. Cypher, Sr.       1980 – 1982 and 1989 – 2003
Dennis R. Ritenour           1992 – 1997
Ralph     Shay                       1992 – 1992
Lawerence E. Houston       2006 – Present
Dr. Jay Colbert                     2005 – 2006
John E. Bennett Jr.              2011 –  Present
*New Hope Elders

Clerks of Session

William E. McBride     1936 – 1951
Arthur A. Armour        1951 to 1954
William H. Kiester       1954 to 2003
James D. Bailey            2003 to 2016
John E. Bennett Jr.      2016 – Present

Pastor History

The following pastors have served New Hope and Faith Churches, and after its organization, Calvary Church.

Robert L. Atwell                                 1936 to 1939
Jack Zandstra (stated supply)        1939 to 1940
Charles G. Schauffele                      1940 to 1946
LeRoy B. Oliver                                 1947 to 1952
Frank Breisch                                    1952 to 1955
Cromwell G. Roskamp                     1955 to 1960
George Morton                                  1961 to 1970
Leonard Coppes                                1971 to 1982
Douglas Withington                         1982 to 1987
Louis Wislocki                                   1988 to 1994
Allen Moran                                       1994 to 2000
Peter Puliatti                                      2001 to Present

Summer Assistants

Calvin Busch – 1938
Herbert Bird – 1945
Robert Eckardt, Sr.- 1946
Mark Neemczyk – 1973
David Kiester – 1974
Robert Harting – 1975
Larry Wilson – 1976
Douqlas Eckardt – 1977
Ralph Shay – 1978
Bryan Weaver – 1979
Stewart Lauer – 1980
Joshua Lauer – 2014